Lower Saucon Township Council has taken the first step to stem a water drainage problem that's become an increasing annoyance to a handful of residents and a hazard to school children.
Council asked Wednesday night that township engineer Dan Miller, township director of public works Roger Rasich and the township staff prepare a study of the problem on Black River Road near Fire Lane.
Miller estimated the study would take 60-90 days to complete.
Gordon Gress, of 2371 Black River Road, has been calling attention to the problem since last summer, and the township engineer, director of public works and zoning officer recently met with Gress and his neighbor, Ted Griggs, of 2368 Black River Road, at the troublesome intersection.
Wednesday night, Gress restated his concerns -- that for days after it rains, water runs down Fire Lane onto Black River Road. "I didn't think I was buying waterfront property when I moved in there 47 years ago," Gress said.
In the winter, Gress noted, ice builds up in front of his driveway.
Utility trucks slide on the ice, and school buses spin their wheels, after stopping to pick up children who have to walk through icy water to get to the bus stop, he said.
Both Gress and his neighbor, Ted Griggs, of 2368 Black River Road, said the drainage problem has become a serious over the last three years. Griggs said he worries his home, which is more than 250 years old, will be destroyed, "and that's a shame, because it is a gem."
Both men believe three new springs are at the root of the problem.
Township manager Jack Cahalan has suggested in the past that Fire Lane is in a large watershed area, and that a storm water retention basin in a nearby subdivision is unable to contain the flow, so the water pools on Black River Road, which is flat.
After the meeting, council vice chairman Tom Maxfield said there have been drainage problems along Black River Road since 1999, and that over the years council has tried to manage them because "we always knew it would be expensive to re-profile the road."
Maxfield added, "The [township] water table has been going up in recent years, and now springs are popping out everywhere. It's been noticed throughout the township."
When council gets the study, it will have to decide if the remedy can be handled in-house, or if an outside firm will have to be hired, Maxwell said.
In other business, council approved spending about $23,000 on two summer recreation programs.
One program will run June 18 through Aug. 9 at Town Hall and Southeastern parks, and serve up to 230 children. The price tag is $19,837.
The other, for children 3 to 5 years old, will cost $3,207 and run July 8 through 26 at Seidersville Hall. The program will feature Summer Arts, Bookworm and Science Fun events. Up to 15 children can participate in each event.
Cahalan said the programs are free for township residents, and the money for the programs is in the 2013 budget.
Council members Maxfield, Ron Horiszny and Priscilla deLeon all voted to waive the $25 special event application fee for the 153rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment Civil War re-enactors who will participate at History Day on April 27 at the Heller Homestead.
However, Maxfield and Horiszny said they were not willing to waive the posting of a refundable $250 security deposit the group would need to present four firing demonstrations using only black powder, not bullets.
"You never know what can happen," Maxfield said. The deposit "seems fair, They get it back," he added.